You Are Not Listening When You…

Gary Butler
Author: Healing past emotional hurts, establishing safe centers for ACE survivors, #ME TOO's
Personal Development

Oct 03,2018




I fully admit that I could be characterized as a fanatic about emphasizing the need for a resurgence of non-judgmental listening skills. This comes from two sources. One is that when I have carefully picked someone to provide that skill set for me at certain decision times, I have been thoroughly disappointed. The other is that I have witnessed firsthand the benefits of these skills when made available to teens, young adults as well as mature adults and seniors alike. I present today examples of what disrupts this healthy interchange. I am challenging you to decide if you are a deterrent or are you an asset to the process of effective listening.


I have discovered over and over, if you are a controlling person, then, you will tend to resist accepting the premise on which this skill is based. It is that people have constructive answers inside them. Our task is to be patient in helping them discover their own solutions and the actions to take. This all comes from receiving accurate feedback.

When the listener wants to discount your thoughts or feelings with something like, “You should not be feeling or thinking like that. You have so much to be thankful for.” This is a total disruption.

 Another interrupt is when the listener offers solutions thus cutting off the one talking from discovering his/her own. It might sound like this, “I know what you need to do. It would be to…..” At this point, the listener is into his/her own world trying to “fix” the one talking.

The listener resists beginning the feedback with the phrase, “Let me see if I am hearing you right,…..” and might offer an analysis that may be far off. This is okay occasionally, but if feedback is off the mark consistently, this tends to cut off the spontaneity of the one talking and may even invite the talker to exit, stop all dialogue or dissociate.

The final characteristic of a controlling listener, he/she never really puts his/her world aside to be available to listen.



You might be wondering if you have been an effective listener or if you have ever encountered an effective listener. If you think not, take the brave step and ask someone to give you his/her undivided attention for 15 to 20 minutes. This person is asked to give back directly word for word or as a paraphrase to what you are saying. The feedback is to be offered with this lead-in: “Let me see if I have been hearing you right………”

I invite your feedback concerning your thoughts about the article and your experience if you accepted the challenge.

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